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Friday, April 09, 2010

Reactions to the Anat Kam treason affair

Arutz Sheva has some interesting reactions to the Anat Kam treason story that's covered in the previous post (below). I'll try to stick with the ones I found especially surprising or interesting. This is Yoel Hasson, former Deputy Head of the Shabak (General Security Service) and now a Kadima MK:
Member of Knesset Yisrael Hasson, a former deputy director of the Shabak Israel Security Agency, called Thursday on subscribers of the Haaretz daily to freeze their subscriptions until reporter Uri Blau is fired and returns all the classified military documents he received from Anat Kam.

The Kadima lawmaker said, "It's impossible to break the law and harm national security while covering one's self under the fig leaf of 'freedom of expression' and 'the public's right to know'."
National Union's Michael Ben Ari has asked Interior Minister Eli Yishai to close down Haaretz until Blau and the stolen documents are returned.
Member of Knesset Michael Ben-Ari asked Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Thursday evening to use his authority under the journalism regulations to close the Haaretz daily in the wake of revelations that the newspaper had printed articles by Uri Blau which contained classified military documents.

In a letter to the Shas party chairman, Dr. Ben-Ari noted the preciousness of freedom of expression in a democracy, but added, "when Haaretz announces that the newspaper will financially support Uri Blau and at the newspaper's initiative, Blau is not returning to the country, there's no choice but to order the closing of Haaretz - and not for a short time - until Blau returns, reports for questioning and returns the documents."
I doubt that will happen - and if it did, the Leftist Supreme Court would overturn it in no time.

There are more reactions here.
MK Ronit Tirosh, of the centrist-left Kadima party, was very strident: “It is infuriating that on the eve of Holocaust Day [this coming Sunday night and Monday], we find that displays of anti-Semitism exist even in our midst. Justice must be meted out to all those involved in this story, and the media and especially Haaretz must take careful stock of their actions. Spies in our midst are the last thing that the State of Israel needs now.”


Haaretz, for its part, did not agree to the offer proposed by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) regarding the return of the documents. So said ISA head Yuval Diskin at a press conference on Thursday. Haaretz reporter Uri Blau, who received the secret documents and published an article based on them, including copies of two secret documents, is abroad, and refuses to return to Israel for questioning. Blau returned 50 of the documents, but still retains the rest.

Based on the above, Diskin said: “We have additional indications that Blau is still holding documents that were not returned. He has now become an intelligence target for hostile elements, and therefore we will make sure to speed up the investigation. Our attempts to retrieve the documents by consent didn’t work; our overall goal is to make sure that they don’t fall into hostile hands… We acted too softly here. We should have taken off the gloves much earlier. We were too sensitive to the media, and we drew the story out too long. It should have ended much earlier. This is the main lesson we have learned.”

“It is the dream of every enemy nation to put its hands on documents of this sort,” Diskin said. “Anat Kam belongs in prison.”

The Mattot Arim (Cities of Israel) grassroots organization: “This story must be a warning light for all IDF generals and security officials, who have long been convinced that their enemy is the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria and that the radical pro-Palestinian elements are ‘progressive’ and deserve their trust and encouragement. This explains how then-Central District Commander, Yair Naveh, didn’t ‘notice’ that 2,000 documents were being copied under his nose – because he was so busy running after Jewish settlers and patriotic Israeli outposts.”

Residents Committees in Judea and Samaria: “Radical left-wing elements serving in official positions are like a fifth-column against Israel’s interests. This is a black day for free press when extremist propagandists infiltrate it disguised as objective journalists.”


MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union): “The ideological left has once again crossed all lines and acted to harm the security of Israel and the IDF. Those who don’t hesitate to recruit countries and donors to harm Israel in the framework of associations supported by the New Israel Fund are liable to go even further and actually spy, in order to turn Israel into a ‘state of all its Arabs.’… Worst of all is the media’s deep involvement in the plot to harm the country.”

Baruch Marzel of Hevron wants to know why Kam was placed under house arrest for so long: “The Prosecution and courts knew how to throw 13-year-old girls from the nationalist camp into prison until the end of the proceedings against them just because they blocked a highway – but allow a spy to remain in her home? The rule of law in Israel is in trouble.”
And here's more.
Terror victims' advocacy group Almagor issued a statement in which it demanded that Anat Kam – who is accused of stealing the documents and giving them to Blau – be placed under full arrest until her trial ends, and not under house arrest as she is presently. It noted that in previous espionage cases, the individuals charged were always jailed during their trials.

Almagor further demanded that Kam be tried before a military court since she was a uniformed soldier when she carried out her alleged espionage. “Only a panel of judges that includes people of military background can fully appreciate the severity of her deeds, especially given the light atmosphere that is being created by her attorneys and those who side with them in some of the media,” the group said.


Indeed, much of Israel's media coverage of the treason case show news outlets playing defense for the suspected journalist spies and placing the media's rights to information above the law, this despite IDF statements that Israeli lives might have been threatened by what was contained in the stolen documents.

For hours on end Thursday, Israel's online media outlets in English headlined the espionage case involving two journalists, one of whom was a soldier at the time, in a way that appeared to favor the suspects. In the afternoon and evening, the top stories in the Ynetnews, JPost and Haaretz websites curiously focused on the accused spy's version of the affair, depicting her as more of a victim than a villain.

Ynetnews's top headline was “'Case threatens democracy'” – actually an abbreviated version of a quote from Kam's defense lawyer. JPost also gave prominence to the defense lawyer's version, with the headline “Former IDF soldier's lawyer: Case damaging to democracy.” The English-language version of Haaretz, a suspected culprit in the affair, quoted the same attorney's claim that his client, who is accused of wilfully copying thousands of IDF classified documents on to her own computer, had been “made a scapegoat” in its headline.

Channel 2's central evening newscast featured numerous sound bites from another one of Kam's lawyers, high-profile attorney Avigdor Feldman, and a sympathetic interview with Kam's mother. Anchorwoman Yonit Levy spoke with Guy Peleg, the channel's reporter on legal affairs, and suggested that the accusation of espionage was "too harsh."

Ynet in Hebrew provided a long video report on a demonstration by about a dozen radical leftists in Tel Aviv who accused the IDF of crimes and praised Kam.

By evening, Haaretz in Hebrew had moved the story that caused shockwaves throughout Israel down to the number five position, giving it less importance than a story about the Obamas' intention to appear on American Idol.
When I checked Haaretz's English site on Friday morning, it seemed that every single columnist had written an article in support of Blau (no, I haven't and won't bother to read them).

The media and its elites constitute approximately 2.5% of this country (based on the three seats that Meretz has in the current Knesset). Unfortunately, those views get far more exposure than they deserve. I agree that Kam should be in jail and not under house arrest. And I believe that the Mossad should do whatever has to be done to bring Blau back to Israel and lock him up permanently. It's outrageous that this small band of traitors should be allowed to endanger the entire country's security.


At 2:40 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I believe she should be executed. Treason is a crime akin to murder.

The Anat Kams, Mordechai Vanunus and Uri Adivs get away with it in Israel because the country's chattering classes believe a moral right exists to betray the state for high-falutin reasons.

And until Israel finds the strength to deal with traitors as traitors should be dealt with, the country will face many more Anat Kams in the future.

At 9:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

According to Judith Miller the Israelie govt is censoring info about the house arrest in Israel. She sites her articles which was heavily redacted when printed.

My question is: Why is the censorship happening?

The story in the USA is more about the censorship than the espionage. The censorship of the house arrest helps turn the focus away from the wrong doer to the govt.


At 9:37 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just read the next post and understand the case better but I still don't understand why the blackout?

Is it because - as you say - living in the US it's hard to imagine living in Israel under constant state of war?

The Jewish Daily Forward has the headline "Now It's Told: An Israeli Story of Secrecy & Censorship". Taking focus away from the real crime and offense to censorship (or their idea of censorship).

At 12:51 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

Funny thing about Israeli Law. Treason during war(2006 Lebanese War in this instance.) is punishable by death.

The only other crime that has the death penalty is the ones done by Nazis during WW 2.

Hanging is too good for her!


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